Laundry by Gayelene Carbis

My father has laundry to do on Sunday.
Therefore he can come to Carnegie.
Therefore he can see me.

My father lives three suburbs
five kilometres
five minutes
away from Carnegie.

I see him when he can get away.
I don’t go there because that is their home.
He wouldn’t mind but his wife would.

It’s convenient to kill two birds with one stone.
I am a bird, he is a stone.
Sometimes I could kill my father.

We will go to the laundry and finish coffee in time
for the clothes to finish the wash cycle.
This is called catching up with my father.

He would say you don’t do this—
you just don’t do that—
talk about your dirty laundry in public.

Yet he takes my poetry and plays,
my stories, pretty well.
I apologise after poems, after plays.

But he says, well, why not?
It’s the truth.
He can take it—
in the films he sees, the books he reads.

But catching up for coffee
is conversation light and frothy as foam.
If you bring up anything difficult.

Anything he finds depressing. He looks like
you’ve dragged him down, or you’ve
put him through the wringer.

And who wants to have that effect
on their father? Over coffee, he keeps
looking at his watch.

He keeps track of the time, so he’s not late
for the laundry. We finish when he’s finished
and head back for the dryers.

I spend the rest of the day
trying not to cry, trying
to write this poem.

From: https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article/clean-on-the-surface

Date: 2021

By: Gayelene Carbis (19??- )

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